21 October 2016

Bats And Patterns

This week we finished our study of bats by completing a bat facts book which included activities such as identifying how birds and bats are alike/different, recording how bats are helpful/harmful, discussing how bat mothers care for their young and writing and illustrating our favorite bat fact.  We loved learning about how bats use echolocation to find insects at night.

We also had fun playing a "Roll A Bat" math game.  Students rolled the dice and then drew different parts of the bat according to the game card until they had a completed bat on their paper.  This game helped students identify numeral and count with one to one correspondence and was a lot of fun too!

We have been working on handwriting of the letters b, i, l, and p.  So far this year our handwriting has covered the letters:  t, h, a, d, g, x, b, i, l, and p.  You will see these letters on homework practice as well as in words that can be sounded out and our month's sight words.  Handwriting practice at home can be done on the homework sheets or in different ways such as on white boards or magnadoodle boards or even having your child write the letters/words in sand or with their fingers on the carpeting.  Practice writing the numbers 0, 1, 2, and 3, 4 and 5 as well

We have started our ongoing study of patterns.  Students are learning that a pattern is something that repeats over and over.  They are beginning to build their own patterns and to identify what will be next in a pattern created by someone else.  Look for patterns everywhere, they are all around -- we can even listen for patterns too!

In math we have also been practicing identifying more/less when comparing numbers or objects.  Students are getting good at figuring out how many is two more/two less when given a numeral or amount of objects.

We are working hard on writing our own stories.  By now students should be able to write with spaces between their words and use some type of punctuation mark at the end of their sentences.  They should also be able to get at least a beginning sound for each word in their story and also adding ending sounds for words as well.  Keep writing with your child at home!

Thank you to all the parents we were able to meet with us this week.  We appreciate all you do at home to help your child at school.


Halloween Parade:  Monday, October 31st we will be having a morning Halloween parade at 11:00 am.  Your child may wear his/her costume throughout the day.  The afternoon students will participate in the school wide parade at 1:00 pm.  We will be walking around Sierra Park for the afternoon parade.

19 October 2016

Phonological And Phonemic Awareness

What is phonological awareness?  What is phonemic awareness?  How can I help my child?

Phonological awareness is the ability to recognize that words are made up of a variety of sound units.  As a child develops phonological awareness he/she comes to understand that words are made up of small sound units (phonemes).  He/she also learns that words can be segmented into larger sound "chunks" known as syllables.  Phonological awareness provides the basis for phonics (the understanding that sounds and print letters are connected).

Phonemic awareness is a part of phonological awareness and is the ability to focus on and manipulate phonemes in a word.  A phoneme is the smallest unit of spoken language.  For example, in the word "check" we hear 3 phonemes:  /ch/   /e/   /ck/

Children typically go through stages of phonological development:

  • word awareness
  • rhyme awareness
  • syllable awareness (blending and segmenting)
  • awareness of initial consonant sound
  • awareness of alliteration (producing groups of words that begin with the same first sound)
  • onset and rime awareness (for example, in the word "can" the onset is /c/ and the rime is /an/)
  • phoneme blending and segmenting
  • phoneme manipulation
To help your child begin with having your child count the number of words in a sentence.  Remember when practicing phonological skills you don't need to have letters, words or pictures, everything should be done verbally.  Listen to songs and fingerplays and point out the rhyming words and have your child repeat the rhyming words and listen for how the words sound alike at the end.  

Many research studies have shown how strong the connection is between a child being able to hear and manipulate sounds in words and becoming a successful reader.  Just a few minutes practice or playing word games with your child each day will have a powerful positive effect on his/her reading ability.

18 October 2016

Fall Break

Reminder:  Fall Break is Thursday, October 20th and Friday, October 21st.  No school will be held on those days.

14 October 2016

Going Batty

We have been doing some research about bats! We have already asked questions about bats and to read some non fiction books to learn about bats.  We will continue learning about bats and creating a "Bat Facts" book to record some of the information we learn throughout the month.

After learning a bit about bats we created a bat graph in which the students expressed their opinion:  I like bats, I don't like bats, I'm not sure.  We discussed the picture graph the class created with paper bats by identifying which choice had more or less.  Students then created their own bar graph on paper replicating our class graph by using one to one correspondence as they counted the correct number in each column.

Also in mathematics we have been working on sorting a variety of objects.  The definition of sorting that we have been learning is:  Putting the same things together in a group.  We can sort by color, shape, size or the kind of thing.

Continue working on sorting various objects at home and also have your child talk about how he/she sorted.  It is important that students can have a conversation about mathematical skills such as sorting to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the skill.  Therefore, having your child explain his/her sorting rule to you or being able to explain why an item belongs in a certain group is just as necessary as the action of sorting.

Thank you for continuing to complete handwriting homework each week as well as reading with your child.  You should have received the kindergarten October reading calendar to keep track of the minutes read throughout the month.  The difficult task this month is for students to learn their address!  Thanks for your help with this core card skill.

12 October 2016

Picture Retake Day

Reminder:  Picture retake day 
will be on Friday, October 14th.

07 October 2016

Personal Narratives & Beginning Sounds

Since school began students have been working hard on personal narrative writing.  When we talk about writing or writing stories this is very different from handwriting.  Writing stories or personal narratives involves a lot more than just letter formation.  It is very demanding and often difficult work for a child.  These are the steps we typically go through when writing stories/personal narratives:

  • think of an event that has happened to YOU (something that has already occurred, not a future event)
  • form a sentence or two in your mind that tells about the event
  • verbalize the story
  • illustrate with a simple, fast, pencil drawing the story 
  • begin writing the story by saying the first word aloud or in your mind and listen for the sounds you hear in that word
  • continue stretching out words and writing the sounds that you hear (for some students this may be just the beginning sound for each word in the sentence) until the sentence is complete
As you can tell, it is hard work!  Our students are doing a wonderful job on this very difficult task.  It is also fun to express yourself through writing and then share it with the class.

Continue working on identifying and generating rhyming words.  Look in books, songs and poems and point out the rhyming words to your child.  We have introduced all of the basic sounds of each letter of the alphabet so students should be able to isolate and identify beginning sounds of words when spoken and should be able to blend sounds together to create a word orally.

06 October 2016

October Upcoming Events

Picture Retake Day:  Friday, October 14th

Fall Break (no school):  Thursday, October 20th and Friday, October 21st
Halloween Parade:  Monday, October 31st  The morning students will have their parade at 11:00am.  We will be parading through the inside of the school.  You are welcome to stand in the hallways to view the parade.  The PM kindergarten students will join in the school wide parade at 1:00 pm.  The afternoon parade will be outside around the Sierra Park. Students are welcome to wear their costumes the whole day of school on that day.